Living in the digital era comes with many benefits for businesses. You can talk to people across the world, making data collection much easier. More technological and digital tools can streamline workflow; thus, increasing productivity.
However, as great as the benefits can be, it is important to remember just how necessary a human touch is in today’s digital world.
For starters, your customers and clients are human. They are real people and people are biologically driven to seek out meaningful interactions and connections with other real people. Therefore, customer service plays an important part when it comes to the success of a business. Meaningful connections and interactions are crucial when it comes to building long-lasting businesses and personal interactions unquestionably yield better results.
How many times have you experienced or heard of someone seeking help from a company and seeking the necessary communication channels only to be met with an automated response on the phone or find that it’s a bot typing on their website? Sometimes it can indeed be helpful but many times it can lack the personal touch that clients crave. It seems that a lot of the time, what’s necessary, is a human connection. This just isn’t possible with a bot that is programmed to follow a script and AI just isn’t advanced enough yet to pass the Turing test, meaning that these options aren’t close to being a replacement for a well-trained, real-life person.
Customers nowadays understand that their data will be processed by AI and expect to talk to bots more often, but this doesn’t mean that they always want to talk to a bot. It’s vital to realise that being able to talk to a human representative of a brand is what consumers crave a lot of the time. Communication can be difficult sometimes and when it comes to sales, it requires some skills that just aren’t possible on digital platforms. The majority prefer talking to a live support agent rather than bots. Furthermore, face-to-face requests are 34 times more likely to gain positive responses than emails according to Harvard research.
Moreover, 90% of consumers stay loyal to brands that share their values. Customers are more conscious of the social and political practices of brands now than ever. So, knowing that a brand may share the same views as them is a huge factor and a common way for a business to present its views is social media. The more human a post on social media is, the more likely consumers are to connect with it which in turn can easily translate to more loyal customers.
Other than just social media specifically, there are other ways to keep your dealings with customers more human and authentic. Customer service in general is a great route to giving a more personal experience to customers and can be done either with or despite digital platforms.
If face-to-face meetings aren’t possible, with travel restraints caused for example by Covid, then there are digital platforms that could be a substitute. For example, apps like Zoom, Skype, and Teams can provide a method to still talk directly to a person rather than settle for a bot. While nothing could replace an up close and personal meeting (particularly for sales or business as a whole) these alternatives can prove to be a close runner-up.
Ultimately, it comes down to balancing technology with traditional and more personal forms of communication. So feel free to experiment with what works. Go ahead and use Zoom meetings and Skype calls if you must but research has shown that nothing beats meeting face-to-face. People value real connections so if you want people to value your business, doesn’t it make sense to prioritise these real connections and interact with them face-to-fa and treat them like the humans they are?
At the end of the day, the digital age has opened so many new doors for people and businesses alike. However, it’s critical to remember that even now, consumers prefer a more personal touch than bots or AI can provide. It’s ok to use technology and it should be embraced but not at the cost of genuine connection. Time and time again it’s been proven that nothing beats a human connection and this is especially true when it comes to sales. This is why meetings and face-to-face communication should always be the first choice for building business relationships.